Day of rest

Claire used to say that when on holiday, the participants should have at least one day off a week otherwise they are in danger of not enjoying the other six days from being exhausted. I agree completely. It’s for this reason that we had a rest day today.

Staying on an island, it’s easy to kick back, put your legs up and chill…which is what I did. Mirinda went for a tour of the town but I wanted to just rest. So I did.

I thought I could describe the onsen experience properly given this will probably be a post of more reasonable length. I’d also like to explain the haze in the distance everywhere.

We thought it might be pollution and I guess it sort of is. It’s actually caused by a sandstorm from China. It happens every year. Quite bizarre. Here’s the mainland taken in the middle of the day.

So they have a sandstorm in China and the wind blows it to Japan. How unfair is that? Not that you see any actual sand, it’s all very fine particles. It just makes everything look hazy.

And I forgot to explain about the beds here in the ryoken. Each night, after dinner is served at the big table, the staff come and lay out the beds for us. They are two thin mattresses covered in a sheet with a light doona thrown on top. While they don’t sound it, they are very comfortable. This is mostly because of the tatami mats which are thick and vaguely pliable.

Notice how sleepy Mirinda is and how comfortable.

Then, in the morning, they fold it all up and put it back in the cupboard…which certainly makes hoovering a dream.

But I wanted to describe the whole public bath experience…

First you have to read and study the rules. This is not difficult because they are posted everywhere. The instructions begin in your room where you change into your cotton robe, grab a towel and head downstairs to the bath. Of course there are incredibly expensive ryoken where each room has its own bath…but this isn’t one of them.

The public baths here are divided into male and female (which seems to favour the gays) though this isn’t always the case.

The first room you enter is for undressing. You strip off and leave your stuff in a bamboo basket, taking only your little white and large brown towels with you. The inner sanctum of the onsen is a sort of plunge pool next to a reasonable sized paddling pool with a rock formation at one end with water pouring into the pool from the hot spring. The onsen comes from the minerals contained in the hot water.

Before you can treat your body to the bath, however, you have to shower first. This involves sitting down on a plastic chair and using a hand held shower head with water that turns off every couple of minutes. The idea is to soap up and shampoo your hair then rinse off thoroughly (you MUST NOT get soap in the public bath) and then you’re ready.

Not quite ready for the plunge though because you have to take a bowl of water from the pool and pour it over your head. This is to get used to the temperature. I need to state that the temperature of the bath was the same as the shower taps so that was a bit pointless.

It is now time to slowly ease yourself into the water. There are two levels to sit on. The first leaves your upper body above the water and the second sees you submerged to your neck. You’ve had enough when your forehead starts to sweat.

And can I just say, it is fantastic. I felt so chilled afterwards. I highly recommend it.

Late in the afternoon, Mirinda returned full of Temple Tales and prayer wheels and how an 800 year old dessert tastes. She had a lovely lazy day but with added walking. And climbing. While I was happy looking at boats.

Then tonight’s dinner was also fantastic. The best meal yet.

Tomorrow this brief hiatus ends and we’re off to Hiroshima then Kanazawa. That’s a ferry and two trains.

**********
The REAL reason I had a day of rest today was because of my foot. I reckon it’s gout. My left foot has swollen up and I can’t stand on it. The pain is awful. Therefore I spent the day in the room, doing nothing. And Mirinda went and looked at the sights on the island. At least it hasn’t spoiled her holiday.

I hope it gets better soon because it’s going to be very difficult moving around the way it is.

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3 Responses to Day of rest

  1. Mum Cook says:

    What a lovely relaxing day gave your legs and feet time to rest for the next sight seeing. The bathing sounds very long and tedious all that pouring and throwing water at your selves not my idea of fun cant see the point of going in a shower to wash of the dirt so you can go in a bath, oh well they have always had funny ideas cant be short on water.
    Love mum xxxx

  2. Mirinda says:

    And by strip off he means totally strip off. You’re not allowed to wear a bathing suit. You must be naked!!

  3. Pingback: Channelling Japan | The House Husband - Sweden

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